Tony Docherty, the Aberdeen assistant manager, insists Kenny McLean, the Dons' £300,000 signing from St Mirren is a "man with a plan" who will eventually make his way into football south of the border.

Docherty was responding to claims by Gary Teale, the Buddies' caretaker boss, that the midfielder lacked ambition by moving to Pittodrie rather than aiming to try his luck in England and reckoned the 23-year-old's career would develop in the Granite City before flourishing elsewhere.

McLean will make his second appearance for his new club, which he joined on the final days of the January transfer window, against Hamilton at New Douglas Park tomorrow as the Dons aim to continue to remain on the tails of Premiership leaders Celtic.

And Docherty believed that the new recruit would, like Ryan Jack, have a strategy in place for the furtherance of their careers.

"In my time of working with Kenny," he said, "he strikes me as a really level-headed, ambitious young man.

"He has a plan, he knows where he is going and we think he has the potential and talent to fulfil that.

"At the moment he is at Aberdeen as part of that plan.

"He has come to a bigger and better club with a stronger squad.

"Hopefully, our intention is that he will flourish and then his career will kick on from there.

"It is a development stage for him but I have no doubt that he will do well here.

"It is important for him to get as much experience as possible.

"Ryan Jack is another example with the amount of games he has played at this level. That will stand him in good stead.

"These guys will have good careers but it is down to the individual.

"Kenny McLean, believe me, is an ambitious boy and he has a plan.

"He will end up playing at the top level if his career keeps on the path it is on at the moment.

"I have been impressed that Kenny is so level headed as is Ryan.

"They are well advised and they know the direction they are taking.

"I wouldn't misinterpret that as someone lacking ambition.

"It is more somebody who is focused, driven and knows where they are going."

Naill McGinn, meanwhile, refused to predict a title win and instead stressed Aberdeen had their sights set on the Premiership's runners-up spot as Celtic moved into their stride in the league race.

"I'm not surprised Celtic are pushing on," the Northern Ireland midfielder said. "You have to look at the wage structures, budgets and the talent of players they have.

"They are coming into their own now, winning games easy and they have a big squad and have made a few good signings but our main concern is ourselves and we just want to keep improving. We feel we have done that over the last couple of seasons. We are a team on the up.

"When you are at a big club like Celtic, you are expected to win every game but I'm at a big club here and the expectations here are also still high."